Well, I’ve already reviewed the movies I saw in theaters this weekend, X-Men: First Class is here and Beginners is here, so I’ll avoid discussing them much further here at the Watercooler. I did rewatch the first X-Men on Netflix streaming however. I think it has held up surprisingly well and it really highlights what’s missing with the mostly dull First Class: humor. The Wolverine character adds a great energy, a lot of natural humor and a certain irreverence toward the very idea of a team of people with special mutant powers and he is sorely missed in First Class.
On blu-ray I watched Spartacus again for the first time in several years. This isn’t really a Stanley Kubrick movie in my estimation, but it remains one of the better examples of the sword and sandal genre. Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay is strong and the character is tailor made for earnest Kirk Douglas. The best parts though happen in Rome between the fantastic English actors Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov. Overall, Spartacus strikes a really nice balance between epic action and more human concerns. Oh, and I love Alex North’s score.
Also on blu-ray I rewatched Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. I had one tiny beef with the presentation which I talk about here, but all in all the beautiful transfer and the high-definition make up for any small shortcomings. The only thing better than this would be a fresh print on the big screen. Lyndon is one of my very favorite Kubrick films along with Lolita and Dr. Strangelove and it just gets better every time I see it.
Let’s close with a quick note about box office. Both Tree of Life (review) and Midnight in Paris (review) held up really well in their modest expansions. Woody Allen’s film averaged nearly $20K per screen in 147 locations while the Malick averaged over $31K per screen in 20 locations. Meanwhile, Bridesmaids (the best wide release movie of the summer so far, review) crossed the $100 million threshold over the weekend which is terrific. I’m happy to see audiences are turning out for all three films. The dismal The Hangover Part II (review) meanwhile dropped a precipitous 62% from its opening weekend. It’s still made a crapload of money so Warner Bros. isn’t sweating it.
That’s all from my end. Now it’s your turn. See anything good in the last week?
Filed under: The Watercooler